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Coolio (born Artis Ivey) is a native of Compton, CA, yet his variation of the P-Funk-inspired rap of Dr. Dre is calmer, less violent, and funnier. Recorded with his DJ Bryan "Wino" Dobbs, Coolio's 1994 debut album, It Takes a Thief was a smash hit, selling over a million records and featuring the number three single, "Fantastic Voyage." His second record, 1995's Gangsta's Paradise, was an even bigger hit, thanks to the title track, which was the biggest rap single of the year. My Soul followed in 1997. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide
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